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Friday, July 20, 2012

Budget Home Defense / Zombie Survival Shotgun

12 gauge single-shot break action shotgun
3" chamber
18 7/16" barrel
36 1/2" overall length
5 pounds

In a survival situation, two is one, and one is none. Backups are a big part of being prepared for anything, and firearms are just as important as any other tool in your gear or bug out bag. This is an example of such a backup that can be found at a very low price if you're a good bargain hunter, or just maybe lucky. This particular shotgun was found laying at a garage sale for a mere $80. Sure, it's no Remington 870 or Saiga 12, but it can stand up to the task in the right hands. As it was purchased for a self-defensive philosophy of use, the original barrel length of 28" seemed a bit excessive. To make the shotgun more useful in tight spaces, the barrel has been cut to just under 18 1/2", and then refinished with a bluing agent.

This gun, by no understatement, is LIGHT. For a 12 gauge, 5 pounds is not a lot. Even a Remington 870 ranges from about 7 to 8 pounds without any ninja-fied accessories on it. Because of it's extremely light weight, it does have a considerable amount of recoil. It's not a gun one would want to fire right against a collarbone without a recoil pad and clothing in between. For an application such as this, the recoil pad was viewed as a must, and again wasn't very expensive at $15. A velcro and elastic shell holder is another great accessory, as the only place the gun has to store ammunition is within the chamber. The elastic band fits snugly over the end of the recoil pad, which helps greatly in keeping it in place on the stock. This was another affordable piece of kit, ringing up at only $10 at an Army surplus store.

Velcro/elastic shell holder, and Butler Creek recoil pad
In the process of cutting the barrel down, the front bead sight was lost. Sad face, I know. Given the nature of its tactical use in a home defense or, (hopeful) zombie apocalypse setting, a very fast acquisition sighting system was desired. The TruGlo fiber optic 12 gauge sight seemed to fit the bill, and was only $15 to order. Granted, it's plastic, and could break. Even if the green plastic tube breaks, the dot may still remain and work just as effectively as a bead sight. The gun was test fired in between cutting the barrel and fixing the sight, and proved that even in a worst case scenario can be fired by aiming the barrel parallel in relation to the target. Even at 25 yards one can get slugs on paper without difficulty. Shot on the other hand, as with any shorter barreled shotgun, spreads a bit at distance. Shooters should know the dope with many different types of ammunition through their guns.

TruGlo 12 gauge fiber optic sight, affixed with epoxy
The operation of the weapon is pretty straight forward, and does not require any sufficient amount of time to adapt to. Near the trigger group is a fairly common button safety, pushed left for fire, right for safe. When opening the action the lever on top must be pressed to the right, allowing the chamber to be exposed. After firing a round, the motion of opening the gun extends the bottom section of the chamber pushing the shell out. If a small amount of rearward force is applied when breaking open, the shell usually will fall right out. If the ammo or extractor are excessively dirty, one may have to pop the shell out with a fingernail. Alternatively the extractor can be pulled out with thumb and forefinger for a more positive grab on the shell. One consideration to take about pulling the extractor out is that if a fresh round slips into the chamber in front of the extractor the action cannot close, essentially causing a misfeed type malfunction.

By pushing the lever to the right, the action is exposed for reloading/cleaning
For a grand total of $120 invested, this shotgun offers tremendous versatility in short to medium distance applications at a price that doesn't break the bank. A wide array of usable ammo is available accepting 12 gauge shells up to 3". Easy to use, easy to clean and easy to maintain. When the zombies start shuffling their way down the streets, this baby will be right at home. Or when something goes bump in the night, it will humbly step up to the task.
Very easily disassembled by turning screw out, taking handguard off, and opening action
for detailed cleaning. Takes about 15-20 seconds to completely take down or reassemble.
Manufacturer's stamp

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